Progress So Far

Interactive, Kinect, Leap Motion, Planning, Processing, Thesis

In the Fall of 2014, I started my graduate studies in Visual Communication Design at RIT. My first semester was a big shift back to school after completing my Bachelor’s degree in Urban & Regional Planning at the University of Illinois nearly 20 years prior. The first semester was challenging, and provided some foundational knowledge to prepare me for later courses.

This semester (Spring 2015), my classes are more specific to my interests in Interactive Design, Processing and Motion Graphics. In addition, one of my courses (VCDE 718) is a Project Planning and Implementation course. It is designed for students to develop a semester-long project or provide a starting point for thesis development.

The Thesis Idea

I have been thinking about my graduate thesis for several years. I began working in Processing around 2009. I also fell in love with work by Joshua Davis and have taken two courses he offers via Skillshare using the HYPE framework for Processing.

In order to produce something new and different, I would like for my project to go beyond an interactive experience and become an integrated sensory experience of music and movement. This can be achieved using live music, Processing, motion detection through cameras, Kinect or Leap Motion, and a database of images that are tagged to specific rhythms or beats per minute (BPM). Using these various environmental inputs, the images will be projected into the surrounding environment. The BPM will control the speed and pacing of the graphics, and the motion detection system will provide the finer dynamics.

I Don’t Know Jack

This project is beginning to snowball as I delve deeper. The more I dig into it, the more I realize that there’s a lot that I will need to learn in order to pull this off. So here’s a very short long-term to-do list I have for myself so far:

  • Learn Processing and coding for natural system movements (such as particle dynamics, flocking, etc.)
  • Coding for visualization of music.
  • PHP & SQL database integration
  • Projection Systems (possibly even projection mapping)
  • Coding for Leap Motion/Kinect/Cameras
  • Asset Creation
  • Contact existing visual environment designers for more background

This is certainly not an exhaustive list, and there will be innumerable additional items that will crop up and need to be addressed later such as locating a venue, locating a DJ, etc.

Next Steps

From this point, I will need to put together a plan of action and schedule for the next year so that I can complete my thesis by next spring (2016). There’s a great deal of learning necessary to figure out how I can put all this together, and I will need to develop a timetable for everything.